How to Get Into Coding

Coding is probably one of the largest fields of the modern era. That said, who says you need to get a degree to learn how to code. In this article, we’ll take a look at the various things you need to know to get into coding.

What is Coding?

Coding is the process of writing instructions for a computer. We call these instructions “code,” and they can be executed to control a computer.

In general, there are many different types of code that range from machine code (i.e., code that interfaces with the hardware directly) to higher-level code (i.e., code that is a bit more portable and easier to read). Interestingly, coding can be done anywhere along this spectrum, with most modern coding being done at the upper end.

Of course, coding itself has many purposes. Some people use coding to control small circuits for home devices like lights and cameras. Others use coding to develop mobile apps and video games. Meanwhile, coding can also be used to develop websites and general purpose software. There really is no limit to the application of coding.

What Should I Know Before Getting Into Coding?

Because coding has so many applications, it’s helpful to choose one before getting started. For example, if you’re interested in making mobile apps, you would be making your life more difficult by learning a programming language unsuitable for mobile development, like Python or PHP. You’d be better off learning Swift or Kotlin. Similarly, if you wanted to make websites, you’d want to learn the proper programming languages, like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Aside from picking an application, you probably also want to determine how much you’re willing to invest. Certain applications are going to make coding more expensive than others. For example, web development can be cheap, but you might find yourself purchasing domains and hosting as you expand your knowledge. Similarly, Internet of Things (IoT) is likely going to be one of the more expensive applications as it requires a bit of upfront investment in hardware.

If, however, you’re looking to just get some general knowledge about coding, you can always start with a general purpose language like Python or Java. There’s really no downside to picking a language that’s popular and playing around with it.

What Do I Need to Start Coding?

As mentioned previously, coding is a hobby that can take many forms. As a result, you’ll need to pick an application. To help you get a feel for the types of things you might need, I’ve listed a few examples below (perhaps in some future articles, I’ll break down the specific domains):

General Purpose Coding

For general purpose coding, we’ll stick with Python. Here are a few things you might need:

In short, you can get into general purpose coding without having to buy almost anything (except maybe a computer).

Game Development

For game development, we’ll stick with Unity. Here are a few things you might need:

In short, you can generally get into game development for the cost of a gaming PC, and that might not even be necessary. That said, if you want to go the extra mile, you can always invest in the following tools and services:

  • CGTrader: a paid 3D model collection
  • Unity Pro: a paid Unity subscription with additional features

Otherwise, keep it simple and start developing some games!

IoT Development

For IoT Development, we’ll stick with Arduino. Here are a few things you might need:

  • A computer
  • An Arduino

Of course, as with everything in the IoT community, there are tons of peripherals and accessories:

  • Arduino Cases
  • Various Shields
    • RGB
    • GPS
  • Various Kits
    • Sensors
    • Motors

In short, you can really go down a rabbit hole with Arduino.

Which Coding Communities Can Support Me?

Because the web was built by coders, there are probably hundreds of places where you can find support. However, you have to be careful as not all communities are beginner friendly. As a result, here are my recommendations:

  • DEV: a large beginner friendly coding community
  • GitHub: an open-source coding community
  • Women Who Code: a women empowerment community

That said, feel free to look around. There are so many coding communities that I’m sure I’m missing some of the better ones. Feel free to share some of your favorites in the comments.

Which Coding Creators Should I Follow?

One way to get involved in the coding community is to follow some folks creating coding related content. Here’s are my recommendations!

The Renegade Coder (ME!)

I create quite a bit of blog-style educational content, but I also dabble in YouTube. The following video is my most popular:

Generally, most of my content is related to Python, so if you’re interested in getting into Python, check it out!

Joshua Fluke

I am a big fan of Josh’s content because he provides a more critical view of the coding community, specifically the corporate environment. This might not be applicable to someone looking to code as a hobby. That said, if you decide to make the jump to industry or entrepreneurship, you’ll get a lot of value out of his work.

Gyasi Linje

Gyasi is a growing creator who covers a lot of work related topics, similar to Josh but with a more positive outlook. His videos are super clean, and I’d recommend them to anyone looking to get into the field.

What Coding Resources Are Available?

For every community, there are probably a thousand resources related to coding. As a result, I’ll keep this list short:

As always, if you’re familiar with any excellent resources, let us know in the comments.

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